Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Spent grain bread, I will defeat you.

I've been on this mission to bake glorious bread out of all the spent grain created in the kitchen. Austin has really been picking up the pace on the brewing so it's a rather large amount and if I'm ever going to acheive my dream of beer cheese soup in a spent grain sourdough bread bowl I need to practice.

I was a bread baking machine as a child. I could bake anything and generally had really good results.

At least that's how I remember it. Maybe other people were just being nice because I was a little kid and I didn't know any better, but I think they would have brought it up at some point in the last 20 years.

Somehow I've lost my ability to bake since I moved back to Kansas which really irks me. I'd come to rely on my ability to make anything well on the first try and that hasn't really been happening.

At all.

I even burnt my own birthday tarte tatin. It was very sad for everyone involved.

My first go at the spent grain bread was pretty good, but the recipe claimed it made three loaves. I made it into three, but they weren't the three big beautiful loaves I'd hoped for. When baked in my seriously large loaf pans they were smallish and the slices was rectangular instead of roughly square.

No good, but easily fixable. I'd just put that same recipe in two pans instead of three.

The next week I attempted spent grain hamburger buns. The grain we have was obviously wetter than assumed in the recipe; I'd had to add quite a bit of flour to the dough the week before so I decided to ditch the milk entirely.

That's not a great idea.

You also should make sure the spent grain isn't practically frozen cold. It doesn't raise well and we basically had a collection of spent grain weights. They were pretty tasty though. Just exceptionally filling.

Sunday I made another attempt at loaves. I didn't get the grains warm enough and the dough took forever to rise. I ended up putting it in the microwave for 30 seconds several times and it eventually made some headway. I got impatient waiting for the loaves to rise, put them in the refrigerator, and went to bed.

I took them out Monday after work and let them warm up. I didn't wait long enough. They looked like they'd about doubled and would be perfect after baking. They were still cold in the middle, or at least that's what I assume based on the fact that they sank and were all doughy in the centers.

Lets hope my results improve.

Ever freaking onward.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

I moved a TON of compost yesterday.

Not a figurative ton.

A literal freaking ton (1.18 tons to be exact).

I have the receipt from the transfer station to prove it.

It was a lot easier than it sounds and was well worth the effort. Check out how fancy my raised beds look now.

A vast improvement over their previous state.

Just wait until I get something planted in them and get rid of the weeds growing around them. I'll look like a real gardener.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dreaming about new projects I really shouldn't start.

Since I'm not supposed to start new projects before I finish old ones I'm just going to fantacize about this one for now.

This is my desk. It lives in my Illustrated Discovery Journal next to a faucet and a set of drawers..

This is the desk in my office.

You'll notice it's not MY desk.

It's close, but it's not quite there yet.

I'm going to build this little hutch to attach to the top.

The real one will have trim or be routered to match the edge of the desk. Once I do that and make the center a drawer, I'll give it new drawer pulls and paint it up and make it My Desk.

I'm excited.

Too bad I'm not as excited about finishing the projects I already have started.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I'm going to do it.

After thinking about it, I've decided I'm going to do it. I'm really excited. Lets hope I stay that way.

Monday, April 18, 2011

You will not believe what I got asked to do today.

And I'm pretty sure I shouldn't tell you since it might be a surprise. I'll tell you this, it brings the level of ridiculous in my life up about twelve notches. I so wish I could tell you, really.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Gardener's Dilemma

When we first looked at The Parsonage I was more than a little excited about the asparagus patch in the vegetable garden. The idea of a pre-established patch was more than I had ever really hoped to find in a house.

Feel free to question the logic.

I really like asparagus.

When I went to plan my garden for the summer, it registered for the first time that said asparagus patch is in the northeast corner of the garden.

For those of you not familiar with how the sun works in the Northern Hemisphere or garden planning strategy, it's generally considered to be a good place to put tall things (like sweet corn or trellised beans and squash) since there they won't block the light from other parts of the garden.

I would really like to have a rotation of such tall things in that general area of my garden and I also would like to not shade the asparagus.

So here I am wanting to move a somewhat established patch of asparagus. I say somewhat because it turns out it's not so established.

It takes several years to become well established enough to produce a significant number of stalks that can be harvested without risking the future productivity of the plant. I'm pushing that back even further if I move them and causing potential damage to the roots.

If I put in a brand new bed I'm starting from scratch.

If I leave them where they're at my whole sun shader rotation will be wonky.

What is a girl to do?

Monday, April 11, 2011

My husband is a very smart man.

He made me fill out a bracket for the NCAA Championship for the competition at Old Chicago.

I hate basketball. 

He pestered me for days. 

Eventually I gave in and started it.

I quit halfway through out of boredom and general disinterest.

I mean, really. Do you have any idea how many freaking games you have to choose the winner of to fill out a bracket?

It's a lot.

And it takes forever (or like five minutes, but it feels like forever if you have no interest in the sport).

He was displeased.

I finished it under duress.

He delivered it to the local Old Chicago.

Turns out I won. Take that basketball fans.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I feel so official.

As of right now you can contact me using the form on the contact page. Check it out.

Monday, April 4, 2011

It's not finished...

and I've been holding out on posting about it for weeks.

I've been showing anyone who will stand still long enough for me to crack out my phone the pictures though.

Literally. Anyone.

The woman who owns a flea market I frequent has seen them.

You should feel slighted.

So here goes.

For reference, the kitchen looked like this when we moved in.

It felt dark and dirty, and even though tulips were my absolute favorite flower at one point, I was NOT feeling that wallpaper border. 

I tried to hold out for as long as a could. I knew it was a bit of a project and I'm working on not starting too many of those. 

One day I just could take it anymore and starting prying off the trim and peeling the border down.

I don't think Austin was pleased.

I was. Even with half peeled paper it looked better than before.

In the process I found out why they put up that border in the first place. That wall board stuff with the pattern on it that covers the bottom 8 feet of wall is only 8 feet long. 

We have 9 foot ceilings.

They didn't want a horizontal seam around the top of the room and opted for a layer of plywood finished in wallpaper and a piece of trim over the seam. Not such a bad idea really. 

Unless, of course, you hate that border and the pattern on the wall board and want to tear your eyes out every time you look at it.

Then it's a bit of an issue. 

It means you have to correct the difference between the surface levels of the two spaces and attempt to blend them together in addition to dremeling out the plastic seam cover things and spackling the entire surface of the kitchen to eliminate the wallboard's linen fabric texture. It only took two entire weekends to get it ready to prime and paint. The next week I primed and put a coat of paint over everything, including the cupboards.

Since then I've given the cupboards another coat of paint, gotten new drawer pulls and handles, and spray painted all the hinges with oil rubbed bronze paint to match. I'd take you a picture, but I'd have to wash the dishes from dinner first and the hubs is already in bed. I tend to bang things around and make a lot of noise. It will just have to wait.

You can think of this post as a teaser.

Suzanne makes an excellent point.

I haven't posted much on the academic front lately. That probably has something to do with the fact that all my current research projects and manuscripts are languishing in the far reaches of my laptop now that I'm working full time in a a non-academic job and trying to make our house our home.

I'm putting in some adjunct applications however and hopefully academic production will be a focus this month.

You are interested in reading about the morbidity resulting from schistosomiasis infection in populations from ancient Nubia, right?


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